Table Etiquette When the Waiter Brings a Bottle of Wine

A good server is knowledgeable about choosing wine and pairing it with food.
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Ordering wine in a restaurant can be daunting for those who are not used to fine dining. There is an etiquette to choosing, ordering and tasting wine, and it can be embarrassing to admit you don't know what to do. A good server or sommelier will help you choose an appropriate bottle, but it's nice to know what will happen and what you should do when the bottle arrives at your table.

1 Inspecting the Bottle

When your server brings your chosen wine to the table, she will show the label to the person who ordered it. Make sure it is the right wine and vintage, and let the server know with a nod or a smile. The server will then uncork the wine and may give you the cork for inspection. Do not sniff the cork. Simply press it with your fingers to make sure it's not dry or crumbly nor completely saturated, both signs that the wine may be bad.

2 Inspecting the Wine

Your server will pour a small amount of wine into your glass. Bring the glass up to your nose and inhale. You should be able to smell an unpleasant musty or vinegary odor if the wine is spoiled, but if you're not sure, it's acceptable to take a small sip. If the wine is bad, let the server know so she can bring you another bottle.

Amy Wilde has worked as a grant developer, copy editor, writing tutor and writer. Based in Portland, Ore., she covers topics related to society, religion and culture. Wilde holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and classical civilization from the University of Toronto.